Major Ports of India

India has a total 13 major ports and 200  notified minor and intermediate ports. Ports play vital role in the overall economic development. About 95 per cent by volume and 70 per cent by value of the India’s international trade is carried on through maritime transport.

Major Ports

India has 13 major ports viz. Kolkata Port, Paradip Port, New Mangalore Port, Cochin Port, Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Mumbai Port, Kandla Port, Vishakhapatnam Port, Chennai Port, Tuticorin port, Ennore Port, Mormugao Port and Port Blair Port. Out of them, the Mumbai, JNPT, Kandla, Manglore, Cochin and Momugao are located at western coast while Kolkata, Vishakhapatnam, Paradeep, Chennai, Tuticorin and Ennore are located on East Coast. Port Blair is located in Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Notable trivia about these ports for prelims are listed below:

Kolkata Port
  • Only riverine major port in India.
  • Known for twin dock systems viz., Kolkata Dock System (KDS) on the eastern bank and Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) on the western bank of river Hooghly.
Paradip Port
  • located at confluence of river Mahanadi in Bay of Bengal in Odisha.
  • It was the first major port on East Coast commissioned in independent India.
New Mangalore Port
  • Located at a site called Panambur in Karnataka at Gurupura river confluence with Arabian Sea.
Cochin Port
  • located on the Willington island on the South-West coast of India; located on the cross roads of the East-West Ocean trade
  • The port is called natural gateway to the vast industrial and agricultural produce markets of the South-West India.
Jawaharlal Nehru Port
  • It is also known as Nhava Sheva and is the largest container port in India, handling around half of containers of all major ports.
  • It is located on eastern shore of Mumbai harbour off Elephanta Island and is accessed via Thane creek.
Mumbai Port
  • One of the oldest modern ports of India. Initially the location was used by navies of Shivaji.
Kandla Port
  • Kandla port was built after partition as the Karachi port on western coast had gone to Pakistan. It is known for handling much of the crude oil imports of India.
Vishakhapatnam Port
  • Vizag port is located in Andhra Pradesh and is known for bulk of Cargo handling on east coast.
Chennai Port
  • Chennai Port is the largest port in the Bay of Bengal and second largest port of India after JNPT. It is largest port at east coast.
Tuticorin Port
  • This port has been now renamed as V.O.Chidambaranar Port. It is located in the Gulf of Mannar.
  • Tuticorin is the only port in South India to provide a direct weekly container service to the United States.
Ennore Port
  • This port is now named as Kamarajar Port Limited. It is first corporate port of India and is registered as a public company with 68% stake held by government.
Mormugao Port
  • Mormugao port in Goa is leading iron ore exporting port of India.
Port Blair Port
  • Port Blair is the 13th and youngest major port of India declared so in 2010. The port is of strategic importance to India and is closer to two international shipping lines viz. Saudi Arabia-Singapore and US-Singapore.

Differentiation between the Major Ports and Minor Ports

India currently has 13 Major ports and 200 notified minor and intermediate ports. There is no strict association of the traffic volume with these terms. For example, the Mundra port of Gujarat is a minor port, but it has registered a traffic volume much larger than some of the major ports.  The classification of Indian ports into major, minor and intermediate has administrative significance. The maritime transport falls under the “concurrent list” of the constitution and thus is to be administered by both the Central and the State governments.

So, while the Union Shipping Ministry administers the major ports, the minor and intermediate ports are administered by the relevant departments or ministries in the nine coastal states viz. West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Many of the 200 minor and intermediate ports are merely “notified”; little or no cargo handling actually takes place there.

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